Tag Archives: hypoglycemia

From Hypoglycemia to Posing Trunks

Topics to be covered in today’s post:  

1)  Chris’s hypoglycemia, self-diagnosis, and how he fixed it

2)  Where Chris thought it was a good idea to do hill sprints

3)  How the bodybuilder dealt with climbing a mountain

4)  How Chris looks now

Topic 1

I wrote before about Chris’s occasional hypoglycemia during contest prep.  Recently, Chris switched from afternoon to morning workouts.  This switch made the hypoglycemic episodes more frequent.

Last week, Chris was in Florida again when the most intense of these hypoglycemic episodes yet occurred.

I need to pause here to mention why Chris has spent so much time over the last few months at his parents’ in Florida:  his dad underwent open-heart surgery back in June and is still hospitalized as he recovers.  Chris, naturally, has wanted to spend time with his dad and mom during this process.

So one day last week, Chris went to the Florida gym early in the morning, trying to get in a heavy leg workout before driving to the hospital to see his dad.  He ate a high carbohydrate meal 2 hours before lifting and he was mentally pumped up about leg day.  After just a few squat warm-ups, Chris got so shaky and cold-sweaty that he was afraid he’d pass out.  He bought a Gatorade for $2 from the front desk at the gym to raise his blood sugar and then felt fine and completed the workout.

When he got home, he analyzed what was happening:  it appeared that the hypoglycemia only occurred in the morning when a high carbohydrate meal was eaten ~2 hours before lifting.

Based on these conditions, in an email, he explained to me his self-diagnosis:

I think I have a medical condition called “postprandially reactive hypoglycemia” which probably described what I am experiencing. I founds a few pubmed articles on it but can’t get the full texts. This link has the best description and probably describes the situation closest to what I am going through:


It is caused by very high insulin sensitivity in very lean people!

So Chris, who is a “very lean people”  is too insulin sensitive; this basically means his body overreacts when he secretes insulin (in response to carbohydrate ingestion primarily) and causes his body to lower his blood sugar too much.

The good news is, since he has identified the factors causing his hypoglycemic episodes, he has solved the problem.  He is still working out in the morning -it just fits his current schedule better- but he has changed the carbohydrate component of his pre-workout meal from a cup of oatmeal (~60 grams of starch) to an apple (~25 grams of fructose).  This change seems to have fixed things.

I do not like Chris having hypoglycemic episodes but I am very glad that he’s not an idiot and would consume an unplanned Gatorade at the gym rather than pass-out.  Honestly, I’m not sure all bodybuilders would make the same decision.  It’s good to know that my bodybuilder is a smart one.

Topic 2

The gym Chris worked out at in Florida wasn’t open on Sundays so Chris had to do cardio outside.  Someone at the gym recommended he run on the shoulder of the road over a bridge.  Logically, this is what he did.


It is a big shoulder, at least


And it had a good view

Anything to get in the scheduled workout.

Topic 3

Speaking of scheduled workouts, yesterday, miraculously, Chris did something “off-schedule.”  We climbed Mt. Monadnock.  What with the hypoglycemia and Chris’s extreme leanness and mild fatigue recently, I was nervous about his hiking it, and asked him several times if I should bring candy bars to force feed him should his blood glucose fall.  He assured me that he’d be fine and I did feel better when I saw that he was bringing 6 protein bars and an apple and also not eating a high carbohydrate breakfast.  He was fine on the hike and we made it to the top of Mt. Monadnock just in time to see this majestic view:


On the summit of Mt. Monadnock

What a view!  It was kind of neat to be surrounded by fog.  We do plan to go back there, however, when we are not surrounded by fog.

Prior to the hike, Chris had told me he was going to do his scheduled “cardio,” which to him means high-intensity intervals only, after the hike.  I thought about explaining that 5 hours of slippery mountain hiking is also called “cardio” but eh, he’s got his scheduled ways.  I was relieved (and rather astounded) that, after the hike, he said he felt like he’d had a good enough workout and was not going to do the scheduled “cardio”.  He felt guilty about this decision, but, his pedometer said we had gone 17,000 steps, he’d fallen flat on his butt twice on the slippery rocks, and somehow, that seemed like enough for his body for one day.  I believe his exact decision making process went something like, “Well, I’d be fine doing extra high-intensity intervals today, but I just think I might be too sore then to do well during the rest of the week’s workouts.”  Ya think?!

Topic 4

Chris is lean enough now that he felt comfortable putting on his teeny-tiny posing trunks for his Saturday flexing pictures.  He told me these were his practice trunks.  I said, “Why do you have practice trunks?”  He muttered things I didn’t understand about needing two pairs of identical posing trunks.  I think the “show” trunks have tanner on them still from the last show and that’s why he has two pairs? Not sure.  Also, why do those little things get to be called “trunks”?  They are clearly much too small for the “trunk” designation.  Well, anyway, here’s how the man and his trunks are looking:


Chris pointed out to me that his nipples no longer look asymmetrical! Hooray!


This is called the “front abdominal” pose.


We like his back, but are still waiting for those glutes to fully come in.  Oh the waiting!  When will they come in?!  Gluuutes!

Only six more weeks until COMPETITION DAY.

Hypoglycemia and Candles

It is mid-July and Chris weighs 203 lbs.  When contest prep started, back in mid-May, he weighed about 220 lbs.  He competes in October.  He feels good about his progress.

When I tell people these numbers (and people want to know these numbers), the logical question they ask is how much more weight he has to lose.  The answer isn’t simple.

Two years ago when Chris last competed, he weighed 196 lbs a week before the competition.  His starting weight, 6 months before that competition, was 227 lbs and by three months into contest prep, very roughly corresponding to where he is now, his weight was 202 lbs.

So how much more does he have to lose?

Well, hopefully, he has gained muscle over the last two years and will appear both more muscular and less fat (“leaner,” we say) when he competes this time.  More muscle increases weight and less fat decreases weight.  So we really can’t predict what body weight he’ll compete at.  A good estimate is “something around what he competed at last time give or take many pounds.”  Helpful huh?  He works with Layne Norton and puts full faith in Layne to help him reach the weight where he’ll look his best.

To find Chris’s previous body weights just now, I consulted the case study we published on Chris’s physiology during his last contest prep.  In this case study, we found that, around this time during the last contest prep, Chris’s fasting blood glucose was low enough for us to classify him as hypoglycemic.  The next time, one week before Chris’s competition, that we measured his fasting blood glucose, it was back in the normal range.  What’s interesting here is that, in the weeks before Chris left for Florida, he had a few periods of mild hypoglycemic symptoms which tended to occur under reproducible circumstances (a meal containing significant carbohydrate followed by an intense morning workout).  In the last few weeks, since he’s been in Florida, he hasn’t been experiencing the hypoglycemic symptoms.  We speculate that what happened last time may have happened again:  his body struggles to maintain his glucose levels initially during the contest prep but eventually adjusts.

Back when Chris was having the occasional hypoglycemic symptoms, we visited the Yankee candle outlet in Oklahoma City.  Chris loves the Yankee candle outlet.  Big-bodybuilder-man loves smelling candles.  Like a hyperactive middle-school girl, he has to de-lid every single scent of candle to sniff it and evaluate.  That day, though, he held himself back from full candle exuberance as he finished sniffing a cinnamon scented candle, leaned back, and told me, “Whoa, I think these candles are making me secrete insulin.”  That’s probably a common bodybuilder problem:  candle-smelling-induced excess insulin secretion triggering acute hypoglycemia.  Oh Chris.

“This is my store.” -Chris (seriously, he really said this)